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Why you should choose React Native for mobile app development

The mobile app market is constantly changing, and it grows larger by the day.

As more users demonstrate a preference for using apps over desktop, their expectations rise and so do the demands placed on the shoulders of developers. In the same way that the newly released iPhone will soon be replaced by a better looking and performing upgrade, apps can just as easily be cast aside for something newer and shinier.

Developers have the unenviable task of keeping pace with ever-changing consumer expectations, meaning they’re on the lookout to find better ways to create apps that enable them to stay on top for longer.

Traditionally, mobile apps have been created using one of two approaches: hybrid or native. This has meant that developers must choose between cost and quality; hybrid apps are cheaper and quicker to make, whereas native apps are of better quality but require specialist teams to build a version for Android and iOS.

One way to bypass this compromise altogether is to use React Native in mobile app development, and here’s why you should.

React Native explained

React Native is an open-source framework for app development that was launched by Facebook in 2015. It uses JavaScript as its core programming language, which means it can be used for cross-platform app development.

Usually, Android and iOS require specific programming languages to be used for each platform – Java for Android, and Swift or Objective C for iOS. Part of the appeal of using React Native is that it allows you to create fully functioning apps on both platforms using a single code base.

When tech giants like Facebook, Instagram, Tesla and Skype are using React Native for their own apps, it’s easy to see its appeal and why it’s fast becoming the framework of choice among developers.

So how does it work exactly?

React Native architecture creates a bridge between the app and the target platform, transforming JS code into native components and vice versa.

For example, if a user presses a button, this case is translated into something JavaScript can process. React Native then relays messages between native platforms and JS code, translating native events into something React components can better understand.

Reusable code

It’s no secret that mobile app development is a time-consuming and costly process.

As a business owner, you want to see the biggest possible return on your investment for the least amount of effort. So deploying two separate teams to create two versions of the same app for Android and iOS simply isn’t an option.

This is where React Native can help.

Because the majority of the code used is compatible with both Android and iOS, you only need to build one app, and in the end two are created. So rather than building both versions and deciding which one to launch first, this framework allows you to write once and launch everywhere at half the cost.

By shortening the development lifecycle, businesses save time and money, and there’s no need to scale your team up to complete the project. Ultimately, it means you can launch a lot faster to remain competitive and you won’t have to compromise on quality or the audience you’re able to reach.

Not only will using the same code help you launch more efficiently, but it will also aid your business with maintenance and updates, as both are carried out at the same time, limiting any potential downtime.

UI focused

The user interface (UI) is one of the most important aspects of mobile app development; it’s everything that users can see and interact with. A well-executed UI will deliver an easy, enjoyable and effective interaction between the user and your app.

In short, it can make or break your app.

To get this right, you need to use a framework that recognises the importance of UI; React Native is that framework.

One of the biggest strengths that React Native has (other than its reusable code) is its ready-to-use library of components that are specific to Android and iOS devices. Through the use of these pre-built components, developers are able to create unique and visually appealing user interfaces that directly enhance the user experience.

Users benefit from a smoother and more fluid overall experience, with apps loading far quicker than they would if built in a classic hybrid approach.

Enhanced agility

As an experienced mobile app development company, 6B know all too well that projects don’t always go to plan. It’s for this exact reason that we champion an agile way of working; it gives us the flexibility we need to change direction and adapt our plan when a project veers off track.

This increase in agility is another reason why our developers favour working with React Native software.

As the framework is platform agnostic, it means developers can easily make changes halfway through a project without having to discard the work that they’ve started. For example, if a developer is on holiday or has been reassigned to a different project, another developer can replace them safely in the knowledge that they can pick up from where their colleague left off.

This not only makes your team more agile to changing circumstances which may affect meeting a project deadline, but it also streamlines testing scenarios, making updates and upgrades more straightforward.

Where mobile apps are concerned, the ability to pivot and adapt to changing market trends or customer expectations is vital to achieving long-term success. React Native makes this possible.

Third-party plugin support

A good framework will meet a variety of business needs and excel in doing so, but no framework is perfect. The sign of a great framework is one that is still taking steps to enhance its offering and in the meantime can facilitate added functionality through plugins.

React Native is a framework that’s still very much a work in progress; it’s evolving all the time to meet more niche business needs.

To combat specific business needs that may still currently be missing from the framework, it offers two types of third-party plugins: JavaScript-based and native modules. These plugins are designed to ensure that apps run smoother, load quicker, and require less memory to operate.

React Native has an extensive library of third-party plugins that developers have access to in order to achieve their desired functionality. Plus, because there is such an extensive community of users, gaining access to the information you need to install these plugins and work out how to use them couldn’t be easier.

A common example of a third-party plugin used on the framework is Google Maps, which can be seamlessly integrated into your company’s app through a plugin with a native or third-party module.

Does your business need help with mobile app development?

Rather than choosing between a hybrid or native approach, why not use a framework that means you don’t have to compromise on quality or functionality? Using React Native will work out cheaper in the long run, you’ll get your product to market quicker, and it will give your team enhanced flexibility to adapt to changes throughout the development cycle.

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